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The oil fund expels two companies after selling weapons to Myanmar – E24

The oil fund expels two companies after selling weapons to Myanmar – E24
The oil fund expels two companies after selling weapons to Myanmar – E24

It is the Chinese aircraft manufacturer AviChina Industry & Technology and the Indian electronics company Bharat Electronics that are now being thrown out of the fund.

Oljefondet’s CEO, Nicolai Tangen. Photo: Olav Olsen / Aftenposten

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The companies are being kicked out because of “an unacceptable risk of the companies selling weapons to a state that uses the weapons in ways that constitute serious and systematic violations of the rules of international law”, writes the Oil Fund on its website.

At the start of 2022, the Oil Fund had invested NOK 195 million in Indian Bharat Electronics and NOK 173 million in Chinese AviChina.

The status of the Oil Fund’s holdings at the start of 2023 will not be available until March.

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It is Norges Bank’s executive board that decides which companies are to be excluded from the Oil Fund, based on advice from the Ethics Council.

Alleged to have delivered weapons that have been used in attacks against civilians

In its recommendation to throw out Bharat Electronics, the Ethics Council points out that the company produces electronic products for civilian and military use.

“In July 2021, BEL delivered a remote-controlled weapon station to Myanmar. The weapons station has been developed to remotely control weapons from inside armored vehicles. It has been reported that such vehicles have been used in attacks against civilians in Myanmar,” writes the Ethics Council in the recommendation.

“In assessing the risk of complicity in new abuses in the future, the council emphasizes that the company supplied military material to Myanmar despite the military coup and the information about the military’s abuses”, adds the Ethics Council and notes that the company has not responded to the council’s inquiries.

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Believes the military in Myanmar is violating international law

The Ethics Council points out that the military in Myanmar has committed very serious abuses against the civilian population in the country, including with fighter jets.

The Ethics Council sees this as a serious breach of the rules of international law.

In its advice to expel the Chinese aircraft manufacturer AviChina, the Ethics Council points out that this company has not responded to their inquiries either.

“In December 2021, the company will have delivered light combat aircraft of the K-8 type to the military in Myanmar. It has been reported that such aircraft have previously been used in combat operations in Myanmar,” writes the Ethics Council.

The council believes there is a risk that this company will also contribute to new abuses in the future, and points out that there are many indications that there will be more aircraft deliveries from the Chinese company in the future as well.

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Thrown out and let in

The oil fund expelled 13 companies from the fund in 2022.

Thai state-owned company PTT PCL and subsidiary PTT Oil and Retail Business, and Israeli company Cognyte Software were kicked out in December.

In September, nine companies were evicted, including the Canadian cannabis producers Aurora Cannabis, Canopy Growth and Cronos Group, as well as the American cannabis company Tilray Brands.

Also the Danish tobacco producer Scandinavian Tobacco, Egyptian Eastern CO SAE and Indonesian Hanjaya Mandala Sampoerna Tbk PT, because “the fund should not be invested in companies which themselves or through entities they control… produce tobacco or tobacco products”.

But the Oil Fund has also lifted previous exclusions. As for example in June, when the fund lifted a 7-year ban on Malaysian IJM Corp Bhd.

The company had then been closed since 2015, according to the Oil Fund, due to the unacceptable risk that the company was responsible for serious environmental damage through its operations at palm oil plantations in Indonesia.

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The article is in Norwegian

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